Why Does DiMaggio’s Family Want Hannah’s DNA?

August 22, 2013

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James DiMaggio is the man who kidnapped Hannah Anderson after killing her mother and brother.  The sister of the killer is now asking the family to provide the DNA of Hannah and her brother for DNA testing.  Why?  Because they believe DiMaggio may be the biological father.  For the record, the family states that Hannah’s mother didn’t meet DiMaggio until she was six months pregnant with Hannah (which is difficult to independently verify) and that the body of Hannah’s brother Ethan was identified via a DNA match with his father (easy to independently verify with the police).

When I first read about this, my first reaction was “What the hell are they thinking?”  I don’t understand the logic of putting a grieving family through this.  You’re essentially accusing the dead woman of adultery, and to what end?  There may be more complexity to this situation than was immediately apparent, but that doesn’t mean you can just start making demands of the family.

I discussed the topic with a friend, and his response was that it had to do with family honor.  If DiMaggio was the biological father and the murders and kidnapping were the result of an argument about visitation rights, the perception might be that he’s somewhat less evil than a guy who didn’t have a “reason”.  I don’t buy this logic on a couple of levels.  First of all, regardless of the motivation, he killed two people.  I don’t see killing the mother of your child and your child as being less evil than killing a family friend and her son.  Even if this is something that would improve the public perception of DiMaggio, doesn’t it make sense to weigh the possible gain for your family against the hurt you would be causing the victims’ family?

I’m not a lawyer, but I don’t see where DiMaggio’s family has any legal basis to force DNA testing.  If DiMaggio were still alive and his status as biological father would help his case, I could see some logic that this is exculpatory evidence and might possibly be basis for a subpoena (again, I am not a lawyer).  However, since DiMaggio is dead, there won’t be a trial, so this would seem to undermine the basis for a subpoena.

The stated reason is that the family is curious about why DiMaggio left $110,000 to Hannah and Ethan’s aunt.  They find it “strange” that this was done, and are wondering if Hannah and Ethan are his biological children.  Well, there are other explanations for such a bequest, and idle curiosity isn’t a particularly good reason to be requesting a DNA test.  Curiosity be damned – it’s none of your business.

My advice to the Anderson family – tell the DiMaggio clan to go pound sand.

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